Science & Conservation

Tim Flynn

Herbarium Curator

Herbarium Curator Timothy W. Flynn is responsible for curating NTBGs herbarium (PTBG). This includes ensuring the collections and their associated data are well organized, updated, preserved and accessible for research and other uses.

Tim has been working at NTBG since 1981. In addition to curating the herbarium he has also participated in fieldwork in Hawaiʻi, Samoa, Tonga, Niue, the Cook Islands, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Palau, Australia, New Caledonia, and Ecuador. Tim has a special interest in collecting often overlooked non-flowering plants such as bryophytes (mosses) to ensure the collections are representative of the flora.

Contact: tflynn@ntbg.org

NTBG’s herbarium is a scientific collection with more than 96,000 preserved plant specimens

Marquesas, French Polynesia. Photo Ken Wood

The herbarium of the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) was established as a scientific reference collection in 1971 together with the garden, which was originally named the Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden and the herbarium therefore has the official acronym PTBG.

The herbarium is a core facility of NTBG’s Science and Conservation Department based on Kauai, Hawaii, and encourages use of specimens and data for research, education, art and communication, and welcomes enquiries and collaborations.

The herbarium is a scientific reference collection of permanently preserved plant specimens and include more than 96,000 herbarium specimens focused primarily on the plants of the Hawaiian Islands and areas of the tropical Pacific (primarily Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia) with ca. 86% of the collections from these areas. The oldest collections date back to 1837. The collections include native, cultivated, and invasive vascular plants species as well as bryophytes, lichens, marine algae and fungi.

The herbarium serves as a scientific resource for all of NTBGs five gardens and five preserves as well as all governmental organizations and NGOs involved in conservation in Hawaii and beyond. Herbarium PTBG is the second largest herbarium in Hawaii with a very active collection program, primarily based on Kauai as well as in relation to major flora projects across the Pacific (Marquesas Islands, Samoa and Micronesia) – between 1-2000 new specimens are added to the collection each year. In addition the herbarium houses vouchered carpological, seed, wood and spirit collections.

The herbarium is well updated, and largely digitized and can be searched from the herbarium database and new specimens are added weekly. The currently 315 type specimens can also be found through JSTOR Plants database.

The only collection ever made of Dubautia kenwoodii by Ken Wood using ropes on Kalalau Ridge

Examples of recent scientific publications using the herbarium collections

Wolkis, D., K. Jones, T. Flynn, M. DeMotta, N. Rønsted. (2022). Germination of seeds from herbarium specimens as a last conservation resort for resurrecting extinct or critically endangered Hawaiian plants. Conservation Science and Practice, e576. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.576

Shevock, J.R., T. Flynn, J.C. Game, W.Z. Ma, A. Williams, D.R. Toren, B.C. Tan, J.R. Spence. (2019). New additions, range extensions and nomenclatural updates for the Hawaiian moss flora, island of Kaua’i, USA. Acta Mus. Siles. Sci. Natur. 68: 105–122.

Wolkis, D. & S. Deans. (2019). Picking from the past in preparation for a pest: assessing the potential for herbaria to serve as novel sources for ʻōhiʻa seed preservation. Biopreservation and Biobanking 17, 6. https://doi.org/10.1089/bio.2019.0044

Lorence, D.H. & W.L. Wagner. (2019). Perrottetia wichmaniorum (Dipentodontaceae), a new species from Kauaʻi, Hawaiian Islands. Phytokeys 115: 93–103. 

Paetzold, C., K.R. Wood, D.A.R. Eaton, W.L. Wagner, M.S. Appelhans. (2019). Phylogeny of Hawaiian Melicope (Rutaceae): RAD‐Seq resolves species relationships and reveals ancient introgression. Frontiers in Plant Science 10: 1–16, Article 1074. 

Aime, M.C., T. Kijpornyongpan, M. Abbasi, K.R. Wood, T. Flynn. (2018) A new species of Cintractiella (Ustilaginales) from the volcanic island of Kosrae, Caroline Islands, Micronesia. MycoKeys 42: 1‐6. 

Our Collections

To learn more about our collections browse these pages. Some of our underlying databases are public. Access to the herbarium and library collections in the Juliet Rice Wichman Botanical Research Center for scientific or education purposes can be arranged. See contact information under each collection.

Public tours of NTBGs five gardens can be booked online. The Behind the Scenes tour, South Shore Kauai includes the nursery and botanical research center.

Our Areas of Focus

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